As a result of an ongoing review of the company’s stock-options granting practices by a special board committee, Anthony A. Caputo has resigned as chairman and CEO of security vendor SafeNet, Inc.
Also resigning from SafeNet is Carole Argo, the company’s president, chief operating officer and acting chief financial officer.
SafeNet’s board committee had previously determined that certain option grants made between 2000 and 2005 were likely accounted for using incorrect measurement dates under applicable accounting rules in effect at the time. Consequently, material non-cash, stock-based compensation expenses will have be recorded to account for the option grants.
A significant supplier of encryption and other security technologies to federal government and financial markets, SafeNet said it will make following appointments immediately:
- Walter W. Straub, an independent Director, has been appointed Chairman and interim Chief Executive Officer;
- Chris Fedde, Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Enterprise Security Division, has been appointed to the position of President and Chief Operating Officer; and
- John W. Frederick, Vice President and Worldwide Controller, has been appointed Chief Accounting Officer and interim Chief Financial Officer.
Caputo played an central role during the past 20 years in ramping up SafeNet’s sales and marketing and serving as the face and voice of the company. The new executive team will face the challenge of demonstrating that it can replace Caputo’s leadership — an executive search firm will be engaged to find a permanent CEO — while also making it absolutely clear that the stock-option backdating issue will not be an ongoing distraction to the company.